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February 17, 2019

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Damon Political Report

Anti-abortion group files initiative petition seeking to outlaw abortions in Nevada

An anti-abortion group is seeking to resurrect a failed initiative petition that would outlaw abortions in Nevada.

The Nevada Prolife Coalition filed the petition with the Secretary of State earlier this week.

The petition would prohibit “the intentional taking of a prenatal person’s life” and defines a prenatal person as “every human being at all stages of biological development before birth.”

The petition is similar to a failed 2010 petition pushed by the Personhood USA group, which is pursuing anti-abortion laws across the country. That petition was rejected by Carson District Court Judge James Russell, who found the language too vague to be clear to voters.

Under that petition, any being possessing a human genome would be granted due process rights, effectively prohibiting abortion.

The group abandoned signature-gathering efforts but vowed to return this year.

It’s unclear whether the Nevada Prolife Coalition petition is connected to Personhood USA. The man who filed the petition, Chet Gallagher, is a well-known anti-abortion advocate who was involved with the Personhood effort in Montana last year.

To qualify the question for the ballot, the Nevada Prolife Coalition would have to gather a total of 72,352 valid signatures from the state’s three congressional districts.

The group, however, is not yet properly registered with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office to adovcate for or against an initiative petition, said deputy secretary of state Scott Giles. To begin collecting signatures the group would first have to file the necessary paperwork.

A coalition of abortion rights groups has already formed to oppose the initiative petition.

“This initiative is an attempt to prevent a woman from making her own personal, private decisions about her health with her family and doctor,” said Elisa Cafferata, president of of Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “It would bring government, lawyers and the courts into our personal lives. It would affect literally thousands of laws, costing our state a fortune to litigate.”

The same coalition filed the lawsuit that struck down the Personhood initiative petition last year.

The Personhood effort has been controversial even within the anti-abortion community, with some advocates arguing it could set back efforts to end the practice.

In 1990, Nevada voters approved a ballot initiative codifying the U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade permitting abortions.

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